So yesterday’s post prompted a question from a student:
“you seem to have correctly highlighted all the challenges that we, as Bazi students, face while trying to analyse a chart. But how does one overcome these challenges ?? this point has not been touched upon, sadly in your post…”
I will be the bearer of bad news here and state the obvious. The answer is PRACTICE. 10,000 hours. The first 100 charts are free. And get the basics.
Let’s talk about the ‘getting the basics’ part. I meet students who tell me they know the basics. Ya ya – got it all down to pat. Okay, so then out comes a chart and you start talking to them about it. And suddenly there are blank looks when you reference Chen and Mao and You.
BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW THE CHINESE.
Sorry, fricking learn the Chinese if you want to learn BaZi. No excuses. Because if it takes you one second more to translate it in your mind, you’re losing the plot.
BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW THE INTERACTIONS LIKE THE BACK OF THEIR HAND.
You can’t forget a combo. Or not see the Destruction. Or overlook the Harm. This is CRITICAL.
So, let’s say you know all this. You’re a diligent student who has spent hours and hours committing all this stuff to memory. You can see it right there without difficulty. So what next?
Well, no one can get good at this without pure immersive practice. You need to simply be 24X7X365 into Bazi if you want to see an exponential advancement in your practice.
If I ask someone who wants to improve their BaZi how many HOURS they spend looking and thinking about BaZi, I will be hard pressed I think to find a student who looks at charts every day, as often as they can, and most significantly, who is constantly practicing on real life guinea pigs.
Lesson #1: Staring at the chart in isolation in the comfort of your living room DOES NOT WORK.
There is no intellectual pressure that comes from reading the chart in the leisure of your bedroom. You are not squeezing your brain for the answer, you are tickling your brain for a giggle.
Lest it somehow is not made clear, BaZi is an intellectually rigorous topic. Of course, it has its frivolous levels too. But if you want to use it for more than idle pitter-patter, then you have to be prepared for the intellectual stone-grinding. And that means working the chart under the pressure of giving an answer that you can support intellectually.
So if you really want to advance yourself in the practice of BaZi and you think you’re advanced enough that you already know all the interactions etc, then start reading charts in front of REAL people. And start answering REAL questions, not the questions in your head.
Lesson #2: Ask. Questions.
When I look at a chart, I already have a good inkling about what the person’s problem is likely to be and what the likely risk areas are. BUT, I will only know this with GREAT EXACTITUDE when I know more about what the person does for a living and what their personal background is especially with career questions. The problem is many BaZi students, when they transition into using real life guinea pigs for readings, place too much pressure on themselves to KNOW THE ANSWER. Before you can know the answer, you must first know the question. God only answers PRAYERS right? So you have to ASK FOR SOMETHING before they can even be granted. If you want mercy, don’t you have to beg for it first? So the next frequent mistake by the advanced BaZi student is to assume that they must somehow an oracle and know what the client wants to know. Whenever I am given a chart by someone, the first thing out of MY MOUTH is: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?
Make your life easier in terms of figuring out the analysis by working on a small section of the chart first. It takes practice to be able to organise your thoughts in a coherent manner and zero in on the problems at multiple levels. As you transition away from learning to advice giving, do not make your own life difficult by trying to grab everything at one go. Piece by piece. Focus on what it is that the person who is in front of you wants to know.
The corollary to this is not to be afraid of appearing like you don’t know what to say. On the contrary, by asking intelligent questions, you give yourself the opportunity to demonstrate what you ARE ABLE to discern from the chart. Appearing stupid comes when you fire without checking if the gun has bullets or not. Help yourself by formulating a line of inquiry. Always ask yourself: WHAT IS THE QUESTION.
Lesson #3: THERE IS NO FORMULA. NO SECRET. NO TECHNIQUES I DON’T KNOW ABOUT.
Okay, this one seriously drives me nutso. There is no secret formula. Actually, there is no formula. It is not see 1 plus 3 and then divide by 6 and the answer is you will be a rich man. So if you think the reason why you can’t master the analysis is because you don’t know the FORMULA, then you are barking up the wrong tree. There is no formula in BaZi. And if you are being given formulas to learn that will give you “quick answers”, then you will forever be limited as a consultant or even as someone trying to use BaZi for personal strategic advantage. The sooner you break out of the mindset of formulas, the quicker you’ll progress because you’ll start looking at the charts as individuals and not models.
That being said, modelling is useful in BaZi but not everyone knows how to break free of relying on models. Which is why I discourage the use of modelling. In 9 out of 10 students, it results in a lemming like approach with the inability to distinguish the subtle differences when one models differs from another.
Some people think the reason why they can’t analyse to a high level is because they don’t know enough ‘tricks’ – well here’s the secret: you have to find the tricks. There are no books. Every consultant learns their unique store of tricks through their own practice. Just like every magician must develop his own act, every consultant learns through the process of their own experience of solving problems. Beyond the intermediate level, BaZi requires self-discovery and realisation. You have to put the information together yourself, work out certain things yourself, and arrive at certain conclusions yourself because there are many things in BaZi that don’t exist any more, or are no longer relevant any more and applying archaic information to the modern world is like trying to win a war with Ewoks.
Lesson #4: It’s the 10 Gods.
I can repeat this ad nauseum. I am constantly SHOCKED by the number of people who tell me – yeah, I know the 10 Gods and then proceed to reveal the exact opposite. This has to be the biggest whopper that I encounter with advanced students. What they usually mean is one of the below:
a) I know the ten gods – it’s [name of the 10 gods]. I don’t know what they mean but i know OF them. This is like me saying, yes, I know Obama – he’s the president of the United States.
b) I know the ten gods but only for my own day master and maybe one more day master that happens to be my wife, kid, girlfriend, boyfriend, hated enemy, rival, boss. Take your pick. If this is your definition of the 10 gods, then it explains why you are getting nowhere with the 10 Gods. It’s the equivalent of saying you know how to speak French but only the pick-up lines or you can speak German but only the swear words.
c) I know the ten gods but I only know like 2 attributes associated with each of these ten gods and really I’m only interested in knowing about the Wealth Stars. (see above (b))
d) I know the ten gods but I have no clue how they co-relate to each other. This is a slightly more advanced 10 Gods problem but is also a reason why people have difficulty with developing their analysis. Being able to connect the dots with the 10 Gods in terms of which Stars are in oppositional and cooperative relationships with each other is crucial to being able to develop a clearer picture of the chart. Which way does a particular chart tilt based on the composition of the Stars in the chart? Is it more on the ‘Direct’ side or the Indirect side? Is the chart consistent in its star composition? Are the stars that are present in the chart ‘friends’ or ‘adversaries’?
The fundamental problem when it comes to the 10 Gods and BaZi students is a lack of understand of the 10 Gods CONCEPTUALLY. At this point, I can see the 2#$@#?$@#$@#%#% – What is this conceptual understanding of the 10 Gods?
A conceptual understanding of the 10 Gods means that you understand a particular 10 God as an IDEA or a PRINCIPLE, and not just associate it with a specific THING, PERSON, CHARACTERISTIC. Sure, we start students out trying to understand the 10 Gods within the context of specifics but eventually, one has to be able to perceive the 10 Gods as having a specific core quality, which can then be applied to everything in this universe.
For example, the Direct Wealth Star is always associated with income of a salaried nature. Every student knows this (btw, if you did not know this, then you do not know the 10 Gods and that is why you can’t do this BaZi thing – kindly now appropriately downgrade your level of knowledge and go back to Module 2). But what the students fail to reconcile this with is that the actual idea or principle that the Direct Wealth Star epitomises is regularity, consistency and the proverbial bird-in-hand. Accordingly, Direct Wealth would reference any ACTION or OBJECT or SITUATION that has a regular, consistent and ‘safety first’ quality to it. Once you understand the 10 gods in this manner, then you are free of the limitations of having a 10 Gods vocabulary that is defined by books. You are able to define actions, activities, persons, strategies, approaches yourself, and add to this vocabulary accordingly, rather than be lost when something doesn’t fall into a known pigeon hole. As they say, it’s never about the KNOWN KNOWS as it is about the UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS.
(and if you are wondering how you can learn this ‘conceptual understanding’ of the 10 gods, it is actually in Joey Yap’s 10 Gods book. And no, I don’t make any money promoting it).
Lesson #5: WORLD VIEW MATTERS.
Perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks of all to successfully analysing a BaZi chart is ignorance. And I don’t mean ignorance of the topic. I mean ignorance of the world out there. I tell students of BaZi this all the time: WORLD VIEW MATTERS. If your world view is small, then as a consultant, you will forever be limited in your capacity to solve problems because you simply cannot understand your clients. Small minded consultants or consultants with a limited world view are good at solving SMALL PROBLEMS or what I call housewife problems. They do not know how to solve serious problems because they simply aren’t worldly and knowledgeable enough to provide an informed intelligent opinion. Many many people don’t know the world beyond their own doorstep or their own world. How then do you expect to be able to give good advice and provide useful solutions if you know nothing beyond your own backyard?
For example, a teenager comes in and says, they want to become a doctor. Is there a way to know if a person can become a doctor? Well, obviously you need brains but I assume that since a person comes into the room with the stated objective of wanting to become a doctor, they are willing to study to get the grades to enter medical school. And besides, its a misconception that intelligence is the sole basis for determining if someone should be a doctor. If someone tells me they want to be a doctor because they like studying, I’d be the first person to say you will be a lousy unsuccessful doctor because being a doctor requires more than the ability to regurgitate information. It demands selflessness. Compassion. bedside manner. Trust. Lots of other things. And then of course, being a doctor nowadays is not good enough you need to be a specialist. So how do you know if someone might be better off being a dermatologist? Or a psychiatrist? Or maybe they shouldn’t even see patients at all unless they are dead people?
As a BaZi consultant, you have to KNOW THESE WORLDS. If someone comes in and tells me they are a banker, I need to know what kind of banker they are to determine if they are in the right job within the banking world. Strategic minded people should not work in IPO departments, they are better in corporate finance. Sales-driven individuals should not work in an advisory capacity because they simply are not skilled at giving advice. And shockingly enough, there is no place in the world of banking for fiscally conservative and responsible individuals. If you want to work in Goldman Sachs, you best be greedy and amoral to survive and prosper.
You can only be able to speak to the client in the language they understand if you appreciate and know about their world. And if you want to come up with solutions they can implement, then again you need to know their world because that is how you know the limitations and boundaries of what solutions are available to them.
By the same token, I am constantly amazed at how people with tremendous knowledge of finance, banking, management, business conveniently ignore their own knowledge and assume the BaZi chart is somehow going to triumph all the information they already know. Having a world view also means making use of the knowledge you already have and filtering it through the chart. What you know is not irrelevant, it has now simply become more informed by your BaZi knowledge.
So, if you really want to know why it is that you are having a hard time getting to the next level as far as BaZi practice is concerned, take a look at the list above, and decide where your deficiencies lie. Because by understanding what it is that you don’t know – you can then figure out what you have to do to learn what you need to learn.